PITTSBURGH - Conventional wisdom says the Flyers cannot go far in the Stanley Cup playoffs by allowing an average of about five goals per game.
Then again, their power play is erasing a lot of the deficiencies shown by their injury-plagued defense and their shaky goaltender.
There is a lot of blame that can go around for the Flyers' 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 on Friday night at the earsplitting Consol Energy Center.
But none of it can be pinned on the power-play units.
"Five-on-five, we got badly outplayed, badly outscored," left winger Scott Hartnell said. "Now we've got to regroup."
The power play was, in a word, brilliant. The unit had one of its best sequences of the playoffs midway through the final period, getting traffic in front of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and putting seven shots on goal during the man-advantage.
But Fleury had all the answers, including magical saves on Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Danny Briere, triggering one standing ovation after another as the fans' chants of "Fleury, Fleury, Fleury" echoed around the reverberating area.
The Flyers went 2 for 5 on the power play, scoring both times in the opening period. For the series, they are an astounding 11 for 20 (55 percent) against a Penguins penalty-killing unit that was ranked third out of 30 teams in the regular season with an 87.8 percent success rate.
By late in the first period, the Flyers had scored 11 power-play goals in the series. At that point, only two NHL playoff teams had more combined goals - power-play, shorthanded, and even strength - in their respective series.
The 11 power-plays goals equal a franchise playoff record, set by the Flyers against (who else?) the Penguins in a 1989 series that went seven games. The Flyers lost a 10-7 decision to Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the Patrick Division finals that year, then won the final two games to capture the series.
When you add the three shorthanded goals the Flyers have scored in this year's series, their special teams have produced a staggering 14 goals.
The Flyers have been remarkably consistent on the power play, going 1 for 1 in Game 1, 1 for 2 in Game 2, 4 for 7 in Game 3, 3 for 5 in Game 4, and 2 for 5 in Game 5.
"Most power plays, you kind of know exactly what they're doing," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik told Pittsburgh reporters the other day. "This one, I think they have so many different options and so many plays that they use ... that's what makes it so good."
They can score with razor-sharp passes - like the one made by Giroux, who set up Scott Hartnell in front as the Flyers scored a five-on-three to take a 2-1 lead with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in Friday's first period. They can score by getting traffic in front - as they did when Matt Carle's drive from above the right circle beat Fleury while Briere (of all people) was distracting him as he battled a defender in front.
Usually it's Hartnell or Wayne Simmonds doing the dirty work. On Friday, even the diminutive Briere rolled up his sleeves for the Flyers.
Now if they can only get their five-on-five units to generate some offense.